Alright folks, we are going to venture outside of our comfort zones here, and talk about a little thing we like to call: periods. Let’s get the “ew’s” and “grosses” out of the way first. I will give you a moment to collect yourself…
Yep, periods, they are a biological part of life just like breathing, digesting, and the many other wonders that make up the human body. I get it my dudes, it is foreign to you, but do you think we as women enjoy dealing with this monthly? Of course not! So next time you’re tempted to gag at a tampon, remember that it effects the woman WAY more than it has ever effected you. Be respectful, I promise it is not that hard.
Founder of not-for-profit organization, I Support The Girls, Dana Marlowe says, “Periods don’t stop for (insert ANY event here). ” She is totally right, they don’t! While there are resources like birth control to combat that, those resources are not cheap or the best option for everyone. It is a case by case situation as each body is different – surprise! Think about the current homeless situation. I am sure you have heard of the tent villages that have sadly become commonplace in big cities. Netflix released a documentary on homelessness on the West Coast entitled, Lead Me Home. This is a great place to start. Watch the documentary, and then imagine that on a national and even global scale. These issues are not unique to the West Coast of the United States.
After you finish that, watch the Oscar winning short documentary, Period. End of Sentence from director Rayka Zehtabchi. The film follows women in an impoverished village near Dehli, India who fight the stigma around periods, as they begin to provide sanitary pads to the women of their village. If you think menstruation is taboo in the West, you will be shocked to see how stigmatized it is on the East. Unfortunately, the stigma is much worse for those on the Eastern hemisphere. It is seen as an embarrassment, and as a result use unsanitary methods to cope. I highly recommend this film which can be accessed on Netflix as well. Finally, if you still are interested try watching the new Pixar film starring Sandra Oh, Turning Red, which is a cute coming of age film about girls getting their periods. It would be a great way to introduce younger girls to the topic, as well. This can be found on Disney Plus. Take a second to think, if people are receiving resources, including toiletries, from donations, shouldn’t women’s sanitary products be included? YES, of course they should.
The real issue here is the stigma around periods and puberty, it is so “hush, hush,” that it leaves no woman untouched. In a Human Sexuality course I took for my Psychology degree, we were shown (to my delight) a John Oliver episode clip (shown below). The clip was on sexual education in the United States. Of course it was funny, however the facts were a bit scary. Fast facts: “…no required standard for sexual education in the United States, of that only 22 states require students to be educated, and only 13 states require that the instruction be medically accurate…” Oh yes, you read that correctly. If you are confused, join the club! What the heck are we doing providing kids with dated or inaccurate information on sex education? You may as well not do it, if you give them wrong information. How is that fair or helpful? It is not. Whether we are comfortable with it or not, kids deserve to be informed of the changes going on in their body and the birds and the bees. This does not have to be encouraging for kids to have sex, but they need to be aware of safety like what female products to use or not use.
Again, I know menstruation is a bit of a taboo topic but why? It is simply a biological function of the female body. How can we help that? We can start by looking out for our fellow females, and remembering to donate female products, as well as other needed items. These are often forgotten, and then puts extra pressure on shelters or other organizations who are already running low on products. For more ideas on how to help listen to the upcoming podcast featuring an I Support the Girls representative. Then visit I Support the Girls online to learn how to get started in your area! It doesn’t have to be the sexual revolution to provide accurate information about puberty, come on now!